Worker Advocate Asks Federal Labor Board to Uphold Precedent Disallowing Forced Unionization of Professors
Foundation files brief supporting university professors’ freedom of speech
Washington, DC (July 11, 2012) – The National Right to Work Foundation filed an amicus curiae ('friend of the court") brief with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) asking the Board to uphold the U.S. Supreme Court's long-standing precedent that disallows union officials from corralling most university professors into unwanted union affiliation.
Foundation staff attorneys filed the brief with the NLRB in a case involving Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh/Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 38061 union organizers' attempt to unionize professors at Point Park University in Pittsburgh and ultimately force the professors to pay union dues.
In their brief, Foundation attorneys argue that universities do not fit the industrial model of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) – the federal law governing private-sector labor relations for non-managerial workers – a conclusion that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in NLRB v. Yeshiva University (1980). In Yeshiva, the Court reasoned that faculty members are endowed with "managerial status" at most universities and removed them from the scope of the NLRA.
In a previous ruling in the Park Point University case, the NLRB ignored the U.S. Supreme Court precedent and rubber-stamped the unionization of the university's professors. Point Park University has refused to accept the Local 38061 as the professors' monopoly bargaining agent, and the case is now pending before the Board again.
Foundation staff attorneys also argue in their amicus brief that allowing union officials monopoly bargaining power over all Point Park University professors would violate the freedom of speech rights of dissenting facility members, thereby undermining academic freedom. Forced unionization would also undermine many universities' own institutional missions.
"Local 38061 officials' strong-handed attempt to corral college professors into unwanted union affiliation and force them to pay dues for unwanted union 'representation' can only be explained as that the union bosses see the Board's current makeup favorable to forced unionism," stated Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "If they succeed, university professors nationwide could be susceptible to unwanted unionization and dues payments and forced to subsidize union boss political activity that runs contrary to universities' and professors' values."